Several Disciple ministers who biked their way from Indianapolis to Nashville for the 2011 General Assembly recounted some of their experiences along the way during the Reconciliation Ministry breakfast Tuesday.
General Minister and President Sharon Watkins and husband Rev. Rick Lowery, retired pastor John Yonker and wife Sarah, who drove the back-up vehicle for the riders, and reconciliation minister April Johnson spoke about their experiences biking to Nashville.
The bikers faced barriers such as rain, extremely hot temperatures and very high hills. The ride ended July 7th at Nashville’s Greenwood Park Cemetery, where Preston Taylor and William K. Fox, who played important roles in racial reconciliation, are buried.
“Ending at Greenwood Cemetery it reminded me that we stand on the shoulders of giants and that we are furthering the work begun by people of amazing talents and skills and vision,” said General Minister and President Sharon Watkins. “Now it’s up to us to take the baton and go the next portion to get rolling on that part of the journey that God gives us to ride,” she said. “It will be hard, but we partner together for the journey and we will further the work.”
“We can go the next level,“ Watkins said, adding, “We can further the work. We can talk to each other. We can come to the table, we can stay at the table past those first flashes of anger and stereotyping, misunderstanding and re-injury.”
Disciples Minister of Reconciliation April Johnson told those attending the breakfast that the key to being an adept cyclist is knowing when to shift, and that the key to being able to navigate the hills, bumps and barriers of reconciliation work is knowing when to shift. “I believe God is calling this church for such a time as this to become adept at mastering the challenges of the landscape so that we’ll be able to know when to shift,” Johnson said.
Collectively the group clocked 543 miles together. The goal of the 300-mile bike ride that began July 3rd was to build awareness for the need for racial equity and to build financial stability for the ministry.
By Rita Richardson